Exhibitions | Live performances | Symposium
Contemporary art space TENT Rotterdam, V2_ Lab for the Unstable Media and Operadagen Rotterdam join forces for a firsttime collaboration resulting in a programme of live performances, a symposium and two exhibitions. Interconnecting the perspectives of visual art, technology and opera, Post-Opera explores the changing relationship between the human body and the voice today.
The human voice has been central to our psychological and social understanding of the self. The voice is also at the heart of our definition of citizenship, as having the right to vote means having a voice in society. Hence, the voice is intimately entwined with what counts as being ‘human’. Yet not all bodies are equally seen as ‘human’ and allowed to have a voice. This begs the question: what kind of voices are recognised as such within our societal power dynamics and what are the possibilities for voices to be heard?
Technological developments also shift the ways in which we look at bodies, voices and identities today. As we become increasingly accustomed to an intrusive intimacy with technology, and are surrounded by artificial voices, new questions emerge: In what ways do such disembodied creatures affect our understanding of what constitutes a voice? And how do such voices gain presence?
Insights from opera
There is hardly any other artistic genre where the voice is more essential than in opera. Yet the operatic singing body was long overlooked, not considered important enough to be taken seriously in the process of meaning making. Contemporary postdramatic opera engages in a reinvention of the body-voice relationship, using technology to alter voices or to break the seamless connection between singing body and voice, thus stretching the borders of the body and the voice and of the opera genre itself. Post-Opera takes a similar approach, with a lively combination of new commissions to both visual artists and composers, installations and live performances, vocalists stretching the possibilities of the human voice and singing machines.
Participating artists and composers
Martin Riches’ ‘Singing Machine’ will interpret an aria by composer Tom Johnson, written specifically for this occasion. Composer Jasna Veličković will present her instrument, ‘the Velicon’, to manifest ‘other voices’ that are normally inaudible to the human ear; working with electromagnetic fields, she will give voice to objects in her ‘Opera of Things’. franck leibovici will present an operatic ‘love song’ of breathing, silences and whispers as an exercise in wordless amorous communication. Adam Basanta’s interactive kinetic sculpture takes audience members on a short opera-cinematic journey.
Experience ‘A Truly Magical Moment’ also at home. Find the instructions here. Mercedes Azpilicueta and John Bingham-Hall investigate the urban environment and point at particular architectural settings that influence how people can or cannot let their voice be heard in public. Paul Elliman’s live interventions will stretch the limits of vocalisation as he makes human voices mimic sounds from urban space and resonate with issues of power and authority. Janneke van der Putten’s Solo Acoustic Performance will further challenge the limits of the singing body. Coming-into-being as a subject with a voice is explored. In a new film by Katarina Zdjelar, a musical re-interpretation of Swedish poet Athena Farrokhzad’s striking piece ‘Europe, Where Have You Misplaced Love?’. Questions of nationality, synchronicity and belonging are also tackled in Urok Shirhan’s performance. Suzanne Walsh’s vocal work ‘BirdbecomeBird’ points at inter-species voices and music making. In Ho Tzu Nyen’s spectacular video installation a ‘ghost choir’ of beings of various origins – mythological creatures, cyborgs, figures from popular imagination – claim and vocalise their humanity. A participatory workshop, conducted by Geo Wyeth will explore various modes of vocal expression, beyond mastery and conventions. Exact details on performances, symposium & workshop dates will follow soon.
Post-Opera at V2_
On view at V2_Lab for the Unstable Media in May, Jan Adriaans’ new sound installation ‘Swarming Chants’ parallels the affective experience of the opera house to that of the football stadium, looking at the forces at play in a collective singing experience. The opening at V2 is on the 3rd of May, from 6-9 p.m.
Find the full programme of the Operadagen Rotterdam here. With your Operadagenticket you get free access to the Post Opera exhibition at TENT. Without, the regular TENT fee is required. Buy your exhibition ticket here.
Post-Opera is made possible by the Mondriaan Fund, CBK Rotterdam, Stichting Stokroos, Fonds Podiumkunsten , V2_ , Operadagen Rotterdam. CESEM – Centre for the Study of the Sociology and Aesthetics of Music , NOVA FCSH – NOVA School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Culture Ireland en FCT – Foundation for Science and Technology.